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630 graduate Armstrong during fall commencement
Photo - Cathy Hill
Cathy Hill, Georgia Powers regional vice president, spoke at both ceremonies of Armstrongs fall commencement. - photo by Photo provided.

SAVANNAH — Armstrong State University hosted the 2015 fall commencement Dec. 12, conferring degrees on more than 630 students in two graduation ceremonies at Armstrong’s Alumni Arena.

Armstrong recognized students receiving master’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees and associate degrees in a range of fields. Students from the colleges of Liberal Arts, Education, Health Professions and Science and Technology marched in colorful processionals and were honored by university officials.

Following an eruption of cheers and claps, university President Dr. Linda M. Bleicken welcomed the 2015 graduates and their families.

“We are so proud of you today,” she told the graduates. “You have achieved so much with this education milestone.”

Cathy Hill, the region vice president of Georgia Power, served as the commencement speaker at both ceremonies. Also, the secretary-treasurer of Savannah Economic and Development Authority and chairman of the board of directors for the Armstrong State University Educational Properties Foundation, Hill promotes economic development, governmental relations and community development.

“This graduating class is a testament to Armstrong’s unwavering commitment to student success,” Hill said in her address. “Class of 2015, you are standing in the threshold of opportunity that leads to success. You’ve been prepared by this institution and nurtured by the love and support of your family.”

For 23-year-old Arielle Powell, who earned a bachelor’s in English and heads to Houston to begin a job with United Airlines in January, there are mixed emotions about leaving her alma mater.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” said Powell, a former writer for Armstrong’s newspaper, The Inkwell, and activist with ASU Feminists United. “It’s the closing of one chapter and the start of another.”

Computer science major Daniel Swain said he loves Armstrong’s environment, professors and career services department, which guided him through job searches, mock interviews, rèsumè building and eventually job placement.

He said wqill miss the campus that has been home for four years, but he is thrilled with his new position at OnPoint Digital, a Savannah-based business that assists companies and brands with training, performance support and business communications-focused technology initiatives.

“It hasn’t all really sunk in yet,” Swain said. “Armstrong has been really good to me. I feel like my education is really worth something.”

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